Care and Keeping of Your Tattoo

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler – August 1, 2013
Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

Maintenance of your new tattoo is pretty simple. This is the most important time to care for your art. You’ll need to allow one-week recovery (the scabs will flake off).

Treat your tattoo just like an open scratch; avoid workouts that utilize gym equipment (think staph infection) or take you into natural water (it increases chance of bacterial infection) while you’re waiting for the scabs to come off.

Sweat is not going to hurt your new tattoo, though you do want to avoid exercise that might scrape the scab or cause injury to the area that’s healing.

You’ll need to wash your tattoo two to four times a day with either plain or antibacterial soap. Try not to touch the area—your hands are pretty germy.

Avoid submerging the scabbed tattoo too much, since this will cause the scab to come off early and expose the new skin to sunlight before it’s healed, which can result in spots and loss of color.

Sun ages tattoos the fastest, so it’s important to reapply sunscreen when you work out (or simply keep it covered, if possible). That sun exposure is accelerating aging in your skin, and the ultraviolet rays will break up color in the ink.
Browns and oranges tend to break up faster than other ink colors. Consider where you’re placing your tattoo and what colors you’re using when you make your selection.

Keep one thing in mind when you’ve gotten a new tattoo and are doing any kind of activity: If it feels like it hurts, don’t do it.

The tattoo shown belongs to Austin runner Alex Schneider, who explained its origins: “Why did I get this tattoo? To me, this symbol has a bit of a different meaning than what you might get from Reckless Running. I did not put this image on my body as a logo to their company but rather as a symbol of the stress and the relentless hard work that an athlete must put forth in order to be successful on a competitive level. The skeletal foot and the tattered wing stand as a symbol of what might be left after I have put forth every ounce of energy, courage, and determination into my training. It also stands to symbolize that top level runners, although they may look fragile, must be mentally and physically tough in order to train through adverse conditions such as injury, bad weather, sickness, early mornings, etc. In a nutshell, this tattoo represents all the hard work that goes into training before the glory of victory can be realized.”

What is Reckless Running?
Taken from their website, “Reckless Running is a running apparel company created to help inspire and enable runners of all backgrounds and abilities to reach their full potential.” The logo image was designed to capture co-founder, two-time Olympian, and six-time U.S. champion Anthony Famiglietti’s philosophy of running with “pure reckless abandon. The idea is to abandon fear, trepidation, self-doubt, fatigue, lack of focus, or anything else that limits individuals from reaching their full potential.” You can learn more about Reckless Running at


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